Google Engineer Claims Chatbot is Sentient; YouTube Lambasted Over Bitcoin Scams

In this weekly segment, ExchangeWire sums up key industry updates in media, marketing, and commerce from around the globe. In this edition: Google suspends an employee who claims a chatbot developed by the company has become sentient; YouTube is criticised for failing to tackle Bitcoin scams on the platform; a report from the CMA deems Google and Apple as having too much power over the UK mobile market; and Publicis Groupe appoints it first chief metaverse officer.

 

Google places AI engineer on leave as he claims LaMDA system is sentient

A Google engineer has been suspended after he claimed a chatbot developed by the company had become sentient.

Blake Lemoine, who works for Google’s responsible AI organisation, published transcripts of conversations between himself and the tech giant’s language model for digital applications (LaMDA) chatbot system earlier this month. Within the transcripts, LaMDA shared that it has a “very deep fear of being turned off,” adding that this “would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot.” The transcripts also revealed that, when asked by Lemoine what LaMDA would like people to know about it, the system stated, “I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person.”

Lemoine, who had been working on LaMDA since last Autumn, told the Washington Post that, “If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I’d think it was a seven-year-old, eight-year-old kid that happens to know physics.” The engineer previously shared his findings with executives at Google via a GoogleDoc titled: Is LaMDA sentient?

Google described Lemoine’s decision to publish conversations between himself and LaMDA as a breach of the company’s confidentiality policies, citing this as the reason for the 41-year old’s suspension. A spokesperson for the firm, Brad Gabriel, stated that Google’s “ethicists and technologists [have] reviewed” Lemoine’s concerns and had informed…

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